< Beyond the Garden Gate
< On the Beach

Little Shrimps
Driftwood Mosaics
Shell Seekers
Beach Flower Pot Game
Scrub the Decks
Pit Pat Race Track
Sea Glass and Stone Collections
Drip Castles and Sand Sculptures
Beach Boules
Jurassic Mosaics
Sand Traps
French Cricket
Beach Rounders
Mud Glorious Mud

Driftwood Mosaics

Jane: It’s the last day of half-term, and I’ve just been reading an article about how British children have the lowest level of wellbeing in 21 developed countries, according to UNICEF. Our children are apparently now almost captives in the home – the distance they can roam without an adult has dropped by 90 per cent in 20 years – and spend hours on their computer or watching TV in lieu of real adventure and challenge. It's true: when I was nine, I remember taking two buses to school across the city by myself, whereas I still walk my nine-year-old (who could easily handle it herself) the short journey to her classroom door every day. As parents get busier, the level of communication between adult and child becomes functional – ‘It’s time for tea’, ‘Is your bag packed for school?’, ‘Do this, do that’ – apparently making interaction a one-way ticket which increases children’s stress levels and makes them feel constantly bossed around. The answer, says the author, is to put children under less pressure to achieve and give them more room to explore, play and create…

Create is a word I like and to improve our worst-in-the-developed-world wellbeing, we decided to create some natural sculptures with wood, sand and shells. We beachcombed loads of smooth pieces of driftwood, some large, some small, plus shells of all colours and shapes. You can make any mosaic you fancy – fish, snails, trees, dolphins, cows, whirls, patterns – all you need is some clear wood glue and a paintbrush.

Take the driftwood, banging a hole at each side with a hammer and big nail if you want to hang your sculpture later. Outline your chosen shape with a pencil, then paint inside the edges and fill in the middle with a layer of glue. Press an even thickness of sand on to the glue – if you’re clever you can stick darker sand around the outline to give a solid edge to the shape. Shake off the excess sand and leave to dry for a while.
Then decorate your shape with shells or flotsam. Paint on another thin layer of glue where you want to give eyes or fins, or outline a backbone with a pattern of tiny coloured shells. Allow to dry. Then hang on your wall to remind you that it’s good to explore, play and create.